Billionaire James Stunt Withdraws Bid for National Treasure
As previously reported by The Business Rich, James Stunt, whose net worth is an estimated $5 – $7 billion, made one of the most expensive art bids ever recorded: £12.5 million for a 17th century self-portrait by Sir Anthony Van Dyck.
Stunt won the bid against the National Portrait Gallery in 2013. However, the British government placed an export ban on the piece citing its national importance.
The export ban was the least of Stunt’s worries. The most impressive public fundraising campaign for a work of art in British history followed the ban. More than 10,000 citizens stepped forward to help raise 10 million pounds. Many criticized Stunt for the purchase, accusing him of having no respect for the painting’s history and indiscriminately flaunting his wealth.
But Stunt, who is also a notable philanthropist, has an impressive art collection only matched by the Royal Collection in Britain. He made the bid because he had so much respect for the painting. He was receptive and withdrew his bid after seeing the widespread public passion for the Van Dyck.
Arguably, Stunt appreciated the painting so much, he was willing to spare no expense to make it his. Supporters argue passion is not a crime, nor is wealth. Still, critics of the bid remain vocal.
James Stunt is an avid collector of art, wine and automobiles. He is also married to Formula 1 heiress Petra Ecclestone. They are one of the wealthiest couples in the UK and own the most expensive home in America.